Understanding how TB develops in the body is key to developing novel approaches to combating this disease. Researchers at Vanderbilt along with international collaborators have been working on improving our understanding of the mechanisms behind M. tuberculosis transmission and pathogenesis.

Extrapulmonary Tuberculosis

Previous studies have shown that extrapulmonary TB is likely a marker of underlying immune compromise. Further study of the immune response of persons with previous extrapulmonary TB provides clues to the immune factors that predispose a person to progress from latent M. tuberculosis infection to clinical disease and contribute to TB prevention efforts by identifying potential targets for TB vaccines. Emerging evidence suggests a key component of the early response to infection with M. tuberculosis is Toll-like receptors. Vanderbilt researchers are working to better characterize the quantity and function of these receptors on immune system response in persons with various manifestations of TB.

Regional Prospective Observational Research for TB- Brazil

Investigations focused on understanding the pathogenesis of progression from M. tuberculosis infection to TB disease are urgently needed. Such investigations require biological specimens collected from well-characterized latent and active TB patients. This requires a high quality biorepository of clinically well-documented samples, collected serially from participants from the time of diagnosis, through treatment and to a final determination of cure versus relapse. TB experts in Brazil in collaboration with researchers from Vanderbilt, are dedicated to establishing a cohort of well-defined TB cases and their contacts in Brazil which will allow investigations on relevant epidemiologic, clinical and pathogenesis questions through The Regional Prospective Observational Research for TB- Brazil (RePORT- Brazil) project.